Easy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe. Your kitchen guide to no-fail, classic flaky buttermilk biscuits. I love biscuits: crispy tops, golden buttery taste, flaky, delicious sweet or savory, so versatile. They really only take about 30 minutes to make. But the importance of this post is that I have had so many biscuits fails and success that I wanted to translate to you, in a home cook’s tone, how to make them perfect every single time.
Ingredients & Equipment
- 3 & 1/4 cups flour, spooned & leveled
- 2 tbs baking powder, aluminum free
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar or honey
- 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter (12 tbs)
- 1 cup cold buttermilk (+ more for brushing tops)
- optional: coarse, coarse sugar topping for sweeter crunch
- Baking sheet or Cast Iron Skillet (I prefer the cast iron)
In a recipe with so few ingredients, I like to whip out the best quality of ingredients. This is the moment to use your good butter & that local honey from the farmer’s market. I also don’t like to use any milk substitutions. While you can sub whole milk & vinegar for buttermilk, it just does not yield the same beautiful flaky results.
Home Cook’s Notes Before you Start
Cold Butter: You have to use cold fat in order to get layers. It needs to be cold going into the oven because as it melts, steam is released and separation is created. This is the same for pie crust. I like to even put mine in the freezer up to 10 minutes before.
Baking Powder: I like to use baking powder here. I think it creates the perfect texture. Some recipes have a combo, but not this one! I love aluminum free baking powder.
Don’t Over Mix: When you overthink, you over-mix. Relax, bake with love and no stress and mix as little as possible. When in doubt, assess BEFORE mixing. Over-mixing will make a tough and chewy biscuit that does not rise to gorgeous layers.
It may not look done: The dough may not look done! I used to have so much stress & “is this right?” questions when making pie and biscuit dough. But so much science is happening even in that pile that looks completely not held together. When you start folding the dough, it falls apart. Until it doesn’t!
Don’t Twist the Biscuit Cutter: Press the biscuit cutter down rapidly and quickly pull up. A twist of the cutter actually seals the layers, keeping the steam inside with nowhere to release. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, use a sharp knife or bench scraper. Cutting your biscuits into squares with quick even cuts (press down with the knife and pull straight up, do not drag the knife or cutter) is better than the random glass you have on hand.
Bake Next to Each Other: The biscuits have to be next to each other. All of the steam and layers work together. If you separate the biscuits from each other, they never rise with as many layers.
Using these tips are what end up making these simple ingredients become the Easy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe.
How to Make Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Step One: Make the Dough
The first steps are quick and simple. Cut up your butter into small chunks & make sure they are cold. Freeze them about 15 minutes to be sure. Place in freezer or fridge. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients (all purpose flour, salt, baking powder) & whisk together.
Toss cold butter into flour. I like to use my hands. You can use a food processor also. Pulse until there are varying sizes of butter, not all pea sized amounts. If using your hands, squeeze the butter pieces and toss them in flour.
Smush and break up the butter. Continuously toss in the flour. Squeeze, break up butter, toss in flour. Repeat until all putter pieces have been broken up & are in varying sizes. Next add the cold buttermilk & mix everything together until there is no visible buttermilk. The dough will still have lots of dry bits but will hold together when squeezed. Dump it onto your work surface and press everything together in a rough square.
Step Two: Flaky Layers
Turn your biscuit dough out onto counter or surface. Work with your hands to form a rectangle. Gather up any flour or bits left behind. Once your rectangle is formed, cut it in half with a bench scraper or knife. Place one half on top of the other. It will look a mess, this is normal. Cut it in quarters if that is easier. Press gently to flatten the halves and press them together.
Repeat this process 2-3 more times. If you feel the butter is very well combined, you can see visible layers, and there are no very dry bits of flour, stop at two times. If there are still large chunks of butter and lots of dry bits of flour that are not staying when you cut it, fold & press one more time.
Step Three: Bake
Here is when you could use your biscuit cuter. Make sure to press down and pull straight up, no twisting. I like to cut the square with a knife or my bench scraper. Press down and pull out straight up. Trim the edges if you want nice, even squares.
Nestle all of your cut biscuits up next to each other whether that is on your cast iron or baking sheet. If they are not close next to each other, they may not rise as well. The biscuits steam, the cold butter & fat melt, and the biscuits rise creating lots of layers. You should see layers like below before you even bake.
Pull them out of the oven when they are golden on top. Let them sit 10 minutes. If I am eating them for something savory, I like to brush butter & flaky salt on them as soon as they come out of the oven. If I am eating them with something sweet (like a classic biscuit Strawberry Shortcake) ?, I brush the tops with buttermilk & sprinkle coarse sugar on them prior to baking for a sweet crunchy top.
Connect with me!
Let me know how you liked this Easy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe. Let me know if you have any notes or if you also made my Strawberry Shortcake Recipe. I love to have these biscuits with eggs in the morning, and making shortcakes with all kinds of fruits. Tell me your favorite way to use them. Comment below or tag me on Instagram @quartersoulcrisis.
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
- baking sheet or cast iron
- Preheat oven to 400° & cut your cold butter into cubes. set in freezer up to 15 minutes to ensure it stays cold.
- Make the dough: In large bowl, add dry ingredients (all purpose flour, salt, baking powder) & whisk together. squeeze the butter pieces and toss them in flour. Smush and break up the butter. Continuously toss in the flour. Repeat until all putter pieces have been broken up & are in varying sizes. Pour in cold buttermilk & honey. Mix up until buttermilk is absorbed & dough is shaggy. Food Processor: add flour, baking powder, salt & sugar. Pulse 1-2 times. Add cold, cut butter. Pulse until the butter is in varying sized chunks – some pea sized and some larger. Next, pour in cold buttermilk & honey. Pulse a few more times until dough is shaggy. & buttermilk is absorbed.
- Fold Biscuit Dough: Turn biscuit dough out onto the table and press it all into a large square. Cut the square into fours. Pile them on top of each other and press down into another square. Repeat this process 3-4 more times until the dry flour bits are all gone and it is a dough with visible butter chunks and layers. Shape it into a rectangle or square & cut the biscuits with a knife into 9 squares. Cut as many as you can using a biscuit cutter or circle cookie cutter. Be sure not to twist as you cut.
- Bake Biscuits: Place biscuit pieces on a baking sheet or cast iron nestled next to each other. Baste the tops of the biscuits lightly before baking. Bake biscuits 15-20 minutes until biscuits are risen, flaky & golden. Brush with melted butter as they come out of the oven.